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Three in every four people rely on fake laughs to get them through the day, with bosses, work colleagues and friends most likely to trigger our guilty giggles.

Where women use fake laughter to fill awkward silences, men are far more likely to use it to make themselves look good in front of their peers. And, when it comes to the age groups, it’s the younger generation of 18-34-year-olds that are most likely to fall back on their fake laughs rather than admitting they don’t get the joke or find it funny. What people do find amusing, however, is themselves, with over two-thirds of people admitting to laughing at their own jokes and almost half believing that they’re the funniest person in their social circle!

Men Think They’re Funny

Unsurprisingly, men are far more confident in their comic abilities than women. In fact, 55% of men believe they’re the funniest person they know compared to just 22% of women. Men also keep more jokes up their sleeves, being able to tell an average of five funnies from memory; more than doubling the two that women can recall. When it comes to hitting our humour hotspots, a witty one liner is the most effective type of joke throughout the UK with rude or blue punch lines falling to fourth in the leader board behind topical and long, story-style gags. Liverpudlian accents were voted the best for joke delivery but it’s those in Birmingham that feel the most self-assured in their joke telling abilities giving themselves an above average score for their sense of humour. But while men are likely to get a chorus of laughs if they make a joke in the boardroom, women have more chance of being met with an awkward silence.

Men More Likely to use Humour in Meetings

An 18-month study into speech patterns at business meetings, including at two companies in the FTSE 100 found that women’s attempts at humour are often seen as ‘contrived, defensive or just mean’. While 90% of jokes made by businessmen triggered were rewarded with laughter, at least 80% made by their female counterparts resulted in silence. Unsurprisingly, given the findings, men are three times more likely to use humour when leading a meeting while women might be advised to keep their jokes for people who will appreciate them!

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